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Cases continue to decline

Covid-19 cases continue to drop in the region, but experts warn of a lack of reporting.

Wairarapa recorded 262 new cases of covid-19 in the past seven days, a drop from the 276 reported in the week prior.

Figures published by the Ministry of Health yesterday reported 22,770 new cases nationwide in the past week. Close to a third of reported cases were reinfections.

As of midnight Sunday, there was one person in Wairarapa Hospital with the virus, while 436 were recorded nationwide. Eight people are in intensive care.

There have been no further deaths reported in Wairarapa, with the total remaining at 46.

However, the ministry reported 56 further covid-related deaths, the majority of whom [19] were from the Auckland region. The Wellington region recorded four deaths.

Six of the deceased were in their 50s, one was in their 60s, 13 in their 70s, 19 in their 80s, and 17 were aged over 90.

The ministry said of the people who died, 28 were women, and 28 were men.

To date, 2331 people have died from covid-19 since
the outbreak began in New Zealand.

Rapid antigen test [Rat] reporting has continued to decline in recent weeks, with the seven-day rolling average standing at 4636 reported tests, down from the more than 6000 rolling average the week prior.

University of Auckland senior lecturer David Welch said the “rapid drop-off” could be attributed to a lack of reporting positive results.

“Although we may well be past the peak now, I think a lot of people just aren’t reporting.”

Welch said hospitalisations would be a better measure
of covid in the community rather than case numbers.

“If people need to go to the hospital, they go to the hospital, whether it’s a holiday or not,” he said.

On Christmas Day, the ministry reported 427 people in hospital, 10 fewer than reported this week, with 15 in intensive care.

The Ministry of Health said the omicron subvariant BA.2 was the current dominant strain circulating in New Zealand, with investigations into a recently identified second-generation variant BA.2.75.

However, new subvariants could begin circulating in New Zealand after the Government announced there would be no testing requirements for people travelling from China.

The Government had been considering pre-departure testing for those travelling from the republic as concerns mounted about increasing omicron subvariants BA.5.2 and BF.7 after China lifted border restrictions.

However, Covid-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall said yesterday that there was a minimal public health risk to New Zealanders, and entry requirements for travellers from China were not “required or justified”.

Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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